Laramie, Wyo. (June 9, 2018) — Wyoming junior Ja’la Henderson’s remarkable season concluded at the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday as Henderson earned Second Team All-America honors in the triple jump. She became the first Cowgirl in school history to earn All-America honors in the triple jump. Henderson concluded her season finishing 15th in Saturday’s competition.
Earlier in the week, she placed 17th in the women’s long jump earning Honorable Mention All-America recognition. With her two All-America honors, Henderson becomes only the fifth Cowgirl track and field athlete in school history to earn multiple All-America honors in the same year.
Henderson’s best jump in Saturday’s triple jump competition was 42’ 8 1/4”. She did not advance to the finals as only the Top 9 competitors advanced to Saturday’s final. Henderson entered the competition as the NCAA West Prelim champion, having jumped a career-best and school record 44’ 3 1/2” at the NCAA West Prelims on May 26 in Sacramento, Calif.
“Ja’la (Henderson) has had a phenomenal season,” said Wyoming Associate Head Coach Quincy Howe. “Starting off in the fall, she showed more maturity and was more focused on the job at hand, and she concluded the national meet by coming home with two All-America performances.
“It is very special for her to join that group of Wyoming women to earn multiple All-America honors in the same year, and I think it is a good sign for the future to see Ja’la compete consistently at an elite level on the national stage.”
By earning her second All-America honor of the week, Henderson joined former Cowgirls Jesseca Cross (1998), Robin Lyons (1999 and 2000), Dana Dillon (2000) and Shauna Smith (2004 and 2005) as the only women track and field athletes in UW school history to earn multiple All-America honors in the same year, including both the indoor and outdoor seasons. Only four of the five, Henderson (2018 NCAA Outdoor Championships), Smith (2005 NCAA Outdoor Championships), Lyons (2000 NCAA Outdoor Championships) and Cross (1998 NCAA Indoor Championships), won multiple All-America honors in the same meet.
Making Henderson’s season in the triple jump even more amazing is the fact that she only began competing in the event in January of this year.
Asked if he had ever seen an athlete progress so quickly in a new event, Howe said, “No, I have not. This is a unique accomplishment. It usually takes quite awhile to get your footing in a new event. Ja’la just took to it from day one, and she has never looked back.”
The women’s triple jump competition at this year’s NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships included some of the best triple jumpers in the world, including Keturah Orji from the University of Georgia. Orgi won Saturday’s women’s triple jump at the NCAA Outdoor Championships with a jump of 46’ 3/4”. It was her fourth consecutive NCAA Outdoor title in the triple jump.
“The field Ja’la was competing against today was a great field,” said Howe. “Keturah Orji of Georgia is an Olympian and one of the best in the world in the triple jump. Ja’la was in a field of the best jumpers in the country, and she held her own.”
See attached to this story the complete results from Saturday’s women’s triple jump competition at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.